Abbildungen der Seite

Art from that fund each just supply provides;
Works without show, and without pomp presides: 75
In some fair body thus th’ informing soul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole.’
Each motion guides, and ev’ry nerve sustains;
Itself unseen, but in th’ effects remains.”
Some, to whom heav'n in wit has been profuse, St
Want as much more, to turn it to its use;"
For wit and judgment often are at strife,’
Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
'Tis more to guide, than spur the muse's steed;
Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed; 85
The winged courser, like a gen’rous horse,'
Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
Those rules of old discovered, not devised,
Are nature still, but nature methodised;’

! In the early editions, That art is best which most resembles her, Which still presides, yet never does appear. * Dryden's Virgil, AEn. vi. 982: one common soul Inspires, and feeds, and animates the whole.—WAKEFIELD. * So Ovid, exactly, Metam. iv. 287: causa latet; vis estnotissima.-WAKEFIELD. Duke of Buckingham's Essay on Poetry: A spirit which inspires the work throughou As * of nature moves the world about; Itself unseen, yet all things by it shown. * In all editions before the quarto of 1743, it was, There are whom heav'n has blest with store of wit, Yet want as much again to manage it. The idea was suggested by a sentence in Sprat's Account of Cowley: “His fancy flowed with great speed, and therefore it was very fortunate to him that his judgment was equal to manage it.” Pope gave a false sparkle to his couplet by first using “wit” in one sense and then in another. “Wit to manage wit,” says the

author of the Supplement to the Pro-
found, “is full as good as one tongue's
tiring another. Any one may per-
ceive that the writer meant that
judgment should manage wit; but
as it stands it is pert.” Warburton
observes that Pope's later version
magnified the contradiction; for he
who had already “a profusion of
wit,” was the last person to need
* “Ever are at strife,” was the
reading till the quarto of 1743.
* We shall destroy the beauty of the
passage by introducing a most insipid
parallel of perfect sameness, if we un-
derstand the word “like" as intro-
ducing a simile. It is merely as if he
had said: “Pegasus, as a generous
horse is accustomed to do, shows his
spirit most under restraint.” Our
author might have in view a couplet
of Waller's, in his verses on Ros-
common's Poetry:
Direct us how to back the winged horse,

Favour his flight, and moderate his force.

7 Dryden's preface to Troilus and

Nature, like liberty,’ is but restrained 9)
By the same laws which first herself ordained.
Hear how learn’d Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress, and when indulge our flights:
High on Parnassus’ top her sons she showed,
And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; 95
Held from afar, aloft, th’ immortal prize,”
And urged the rest by equal steps to rise.
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n,”
She drew from them what they derived from heav'n.' - }
The gen’rous critic fanned the poet's fire, 100
And taught the world with reason to admire.
Then criticism the muse's handmaid proved,
To dress her charms, and make her more beloved:
But following wits from that intention strayed,
Who could not win the mistress, wooed the maid;" 105
Against the poets their own arms they turned,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learned."

Cressida : “If the rules be well con-
sidered, we shall find them to be
made only to reduce nature into
* It was “monarchy" until the
edition of 1743.
* Translation of Boileau's Art of
Poetry, by Dryden and Soame:

And afar off hold up the glorious prize.— WAKE FIELD.

* Nec enim artibus editis factum est ut argumenta inveniremus, sed dicta sunt omnia antequam praeciperentur; mox ea scriptores observata et collecta ediderunt. Quintil.—Pop E.

* This seems to have been suggested by a couplet in the Court Prospect of Hopkins: Howare these blessings thus dispensed and

giv'n? [heav'n. To us from William, and to him from

* After this verse followed another, to complete the triplet, in the first impressions:

Sct up themselves, and drove a sep'rate trade.—WAKEFIELD.

* A feeble line of monosyllables, consisting of ten low words.—WARTON.

The entire passage seems to be constructed on some remarks of Dryden in his Dedication to Ovid : “Formerly the critics were quite another species of men. They were defenders of poets, and commentators on their works, to illustrate obscure beauties, to place some passages in a better light, to redeem others from malicious interpretations. Are our auxiliary forces turned our enemies? Are they from our seconds become principals against us?” The truth of Pope's assertion, as to the matter of fact, will not bear a rigorous inquisition, as I believe these critical persecutors of good poets to have been extremely few, both in ancient and modern times.—WAKEFIELD.

So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art
By doctors' bills' to play the doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules, 110
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoiled” so much as they ;
Some dryly plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receipts how poems may be made; us
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.
You then whose judgment the right course would steer,
Know well each ancient's proper character;
His fable, subject, scope in ev'ry page; 120
Religion, country, genius of his age:*
Without all these at once before your eyes,
Cavil you may," but never criticise.”

* The prescription of the physician was formerly called his bill. Johnson, in his Dictionary, quotes from L’Estrange, “The medicine was prepared according to the bill,” and Butler, in Hudibras, speaks of him who took the doctor's bill, And swallowed it instead of the pill. The story ran that a physician handed a prescription to his patient, saying, “Take this,” and the man immediately swallowed it. * This is a quibble. Time and moths spoil books by destroying them. The commentators only spoiled them by explaining them badly. The editors were so far from spoiling books in the same sense as time, that by multiplying copies they assisted to preserve them. * Soame and Dryden's Translation of Boileau's Art of Poetry: Keep to each man his proper character; Of countries and of times the humours know; From diff'rent climates diff'ring customs grow. The principle here is general. Pope, in terms and in sact, applied it only

to the ancients. Had he extended the precept to modern literature he would have been cured of his delusion that every deviation from the antique type arose from unlettered tastelessness.

* In the first edition,

You may confound, but never criticise,

which was an adaptation of a line from
Lord Roscommon :
You may confound, but never can translate.

* The author, after this verse, originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions: Zoilus, had these been known, without a

name [to fame; Had died, and Perrault ne'er been damned The sense of sound antiquity had reigned, And sacred Homer yet been unprophaned. None e'er had thought his comprehen

sive mind [fined; To modern customs, modern rules conWho for all ages writ, and all mankind. Be his great works, &c.–Pope.

Perrault, in his Parallel between the ancients and the moderns, carped at Homer in the same spirit that Zoilus had done of old.

Be Homer's works your study and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night;" 125
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims bring,
And trace the muses upward to their spring.”
Still with itself compared, his text peruse;’

And let your comment be the Mantuan muse.

When first young Maro in his boundless mind lso A work to outlast" immortal Rome designed,’ Perhaps he seemed above the critic's law, And but from nature's fountain scorned to draw: But when to examine ev'ry part he came, Nature and Homer were, he found, the same. 135

| Horace, Ars Poet., ver, 268:
vos exemplaria Graeca.

Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.

Tate and Brady's version of the first psalm :

But makes the perfect law of God
His business and delight;
Devoutly reads therein by day,
And meditates by night.


* Dryden, Virg, Geor. iv. 408: And upward follow Fame's immortalspring. —WAKEFIELD.

* Lord Roscommon's Essay on Translated Verse : Consult your author with himself compared.

* The word outlast is improper; for Virgil, like a true Roman, never dreamt of the mortality of the city.— WAKEFIELD.

* Variation : When first young Maro sung of kings and wars, [bling cars.

Ere warning Phoebus touched his trem

Cum canerem reges et praelia, Cynthius aurenn

Wellit. Virg. Ecl. vi. 3.

It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs, which he found above his years, and descended, first to imitate Theocritus on rural subjects, and afterwards to

copy Homer in heroic poetry. — PoPE. The second line of the couplet in the note was copied, as Mr. Carruthers points out, from Milton's Lycidas: Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears. The couplet in the text, with the variation of “great Maro” for “young Maro,” was Pope's original version, but Dennis having asked whether he intended “to put that figure called a bull upon Virgil” by saying that he designed a work “to outlast immortality,” the poet wrote in the margin of his manuscript “alter the seeming inconsistency,” which he did, by substituting the lines in the note. In the last edition, he reinstated the “bull.” The objection of Dennis was hypercritical. The phrase only expresses the double fact that the city was destroyed, and that its fame was durable. The manuscript supplies another various reading, which avoids both the alleged bull in the text, and the bad rhyme of the couplet in the note: When first his voice the youthful Maro tried, Ere Phoebus touched his ear and checked his pride.

Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design :
And rules as strict his laboured work confine,'
As if the Stagyrite” o'erlooked each line.”
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
To copy nature is to copy them." 140
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
For there's a happiness as well as care.

Music resembles poetry; in each )
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,”
And which a master hand alone can reach. ) 145

If, where the rules not far enough extend,"
(Since rules were made but to promote their end,)
Some lucky licence answer to the full
Th’ intent proposed, that licence is a rule.
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take, 150
May boldly deviate from the common track.

1 And did his work to rules as strict confine.—Pope.

* Aristotle, born at Stagyra, B.C. 384.—CROKER.

* In the manuscript a couplet follows which was added by Pope in the margin, when he erased the expression “a work t' outlast immortal Rome :”

“Arms and the Man," then rung the world around,

And Rome commenced immortal at tho sound

* When Pope supposes Virgil to have properly “checked in his bold design of drawing from nature's fountain,” and in consequence to have confined his work within rules as strict,

As if the Stagyrite o'erlooked each line,

how can he avoid the force of his own ridicule, where a little further, in this very piece, he laughs at Dennis for

Concluding all were desp'rate sots and

Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules.—

The argument of Pope is sophistical and inconsistent. It is inconsistent, because if Virgil found Homer and nature the same, his work would not have been confined within stricter rules when he copied Homer than when he copied nature. It is sophistical, because though Homer may be always natural, all nature is not contained in his works.

* Rapin's Critical Works, vol. ii. p. 173: “There are no precepts to teach the hidden graces, and all that secret power of poetry which passes to the heart.”

* Neque enim rogationibus plebisve scitis sancta sunt ista præcepta, sed hoc, quicquid est, utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem sic utile esse plerumque; verum si eadem illa nobis aliud suadebit utilitas, hanc, relictis magistrorum auctoritatibus, seque

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »